If you’re one of those folks who puts off holiday shopping until the very last minute, here are some suggestions for the green thumbs on your list.

Gardeners who are always on the lookout for new plants particularly prize gift cards from garden centers. There’s nothing that makes me happier than shopping with a gift card that allows me to buy that special plant, pot or piece of yard art I’ve yearned for but found to be a stretch when it comes to my budget.

Older parents and relatives can be tough to buy for because their needs for material things are few. But help cleaning up the yard and garden and doing some planting in spring can be a priceless gift. And if your gifting budget is tight, this one can be a freebee. Get the grandkids to create a homemade card announcing a spring “clean ’em up good” party in their own backyard.

Avid gardeners who moved to apartments and left their gardens behind or no longer drive would love a “ticket” for a warm weather mystery trip to a special garden center or a garden walk. There are also wonderful botanical conservatories and greenhouses that make a great day “afternoons out” in the winter months.

Cute stickers found in scrapbook departments and stores can be used to enhance homemade gift certificates for these labors of love. Getting the kids involved by including snapshots of the family producing the work in progress to make the certificate is a treasure in itself. It might even be expanded to become a booklet or a frameable work of art.

This is a good project for kids to work on while they’re home on vacation the week before Christmas.

Gardeners should have a magnifier in his or her tool bag to be able to identify pests and diseases. Readers are also handy for checking application rates on labels on fertilizer bags and spray cans. For identifying bugs, a 10-power lens is best and they can be found at craft stores.

Fresh flowers are always welcome, especially by housebound green-thumbers. And, forced flowering bulbs such as amaryllis, paperwhite narcissus and hyacinths are especially treasured, because when received, they are often in bud or bulb form and watching them grow and burst into bloom helps warm the heart on cold winter days. Garden centers with florist facilities may also offer “plant of the month” programs to extend the celebration throughout the winter months.

Nancy Szerlag is a master gardener and Metro Detroit freelance writer. Her column appears Fridays in Homestyle. To ask her a question go to and click on Ask Nancy. You can also read her previous columns at detroitnewscom/homestyle.

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